Ahh, summer! Longer days, warmer nights, corn on the cob, fresh seasonal fruits (I’m looking at you cantelope and watermelon)… what isn’t there to love about summer? There’s nothing that says summer to me like a visit to the
Del Mar Fair San Diego County Fair (yeah, I still call it Del Mar Fair). I went to the fair last Friday with my friend, Laura, who got free Teacher Appreciation Day tickets (thanks, Laura!). I didn’t go “all out” like I normally would at the fair mostly because they didn’t have all of the things I wanted to try (insert pouting here).
In addition to my recap below I’m also giving away passes to the Big Bite Bacon Fest on July 5th! You may skip this fair recap business if you just want to enter the contest!
First thing Laura and I did was wander around in the Beatles exhibit. There were a lot of great photos of the four of them before their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show plus photos of them just goofing around on the beach, in Central Park, etc. all before they got really famous and were still able to go out without being completely mobbed by fans.
There was also a large wishing tree and I put a wish on a tag. I think my wish was “for everyone to feel loved” since I’m pretty happy with the state of my life at the moment.
This wish made me chuckle a little. Me too, kid. Me too.
After exploring the Beatles tribute, Laura and I decided on what our first items would be. I wasn’t into a lot of the “new” items they were featuring this year. Triple krispy kreme cheeseburger? Pass. Bacon wrapped churros that I heard were soggy? Pass. Kirbie said the crispy chicken skins were not crispy. My mom makes chicken skins, too, so pass. What I did want to try was a new item called a Polish Gouda Dog. THAT sounded like something I could enjoy! Polish sausage with cheese in it?! Sign me UP! We wandered over to the California Cheese Co. booth… only to find it wasn’t on the menu. What is this treachery!? I asked someone working at the booth and they just sadly shook their head and said, “Sorry, we don’t have that.” I’m guessing it didn’t work out and they weren’t able to stock the product to sell. What a bummer!
I had seen someone on Twitter had tried some TastiChips – freshly made potato chips – and Laura and I decided to try that as our side dish along with this:
[cauliflower sandwich – $9.50]
A Cauliflower Sandwich from Grinders! Now… a cauliflower sandwich all by itself did not really sound all that appealing to me, but I had seen that CC had tried it and spoke highly of it so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m glad I did because this sandwich turned out to be surprisingly delicious! And I didn’t feel totally gross after eating it which is always a plus. The sandwich has roasted cauliflower in it, plus arugula (which luckily didn’t have it’s usual weird-o peppery taste), melted cheese, apple slices and garlic. It was on a sweet honey wheat bread that was toasted and buttered. The whole thing together made for a tasty bite. The cheese is melted and gooey, the cauliflower is roasted and soft (making it easy to bite through) and the bit of apple gives it a little crunch and sweetness. The garlic helps bring it all together and the sweet-ish bread just makes the whole thing a winner. I really, really liked this sandwich!
[tastichips – regular size with additional ranch dressing]
On the other hand, the TastiChips were sadly not as tasty as I was hoping they would be. We got a regular sized order which was still pretty big for the two of us to share. I can’t remember the exact pricing – I think it was $6-7 for the regular plus $1 for the ranch dressing (they also had nacho cheese sauce). They did look freshly cut to order but they were not fried long enough! Some of the chips were semi-soft and chewy while a few chips were nice and crunchy. We were hoping for all crunchy chips and instead got mostly limp, partly cooked chips… sorry, but that is not tasty to me at all. Laura was a trooper and ate more of the chips than I did. I just didn’t care for the texture of a limp potato that much. The chips are also unseasoned when delivered to you – which is good if you’re watching your intake of salt but we’re at the fair! Can’t you just season them for me?
We sat in the grass and watched part of a Singer Songwriter competition with a few local singers. This girl, Suzanne Harper, was very country.
This girl, Christine Parker, was not country! I liked her music a little better. A little musical entertainment with our meal was very enjoyable.
After our shared meal, we went over to check out the Woodworking exhibit which is always one of my favorite areas to check out. I’m always amazed by people’s ability to turn wood into something beautiful, like this goregous looking table:
and this very cool Jaguar picture. So rad!
After wood stuff, we headed over to check out the free concert which was Smokey Robinson.
Smokey is rocking it in the blue sequined jacket! I knew a few more of his songs that I thought I did but his newer stuff I was not really digging. But that’s okay.
We stayed for about an hour listening to Smokey before wandering around the fair a bit more.
We checked out a bit of Bing Crosby Hall and tried to find this other item…. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels. I was imagining a peanut butter filled soft pretzel with a chocolate drizzle and I got excited thinking about it… but our search was in vain! It was not at the Mexican Funnel booth or any of the “Sippers” booths (which I assumed was just the drink carts, but I didn’t ask). No pretzels for us! What!
I went ahead and wandered over to Roxy’s for one of my usual items.
[garlic battered mushrooms / $7.75]
The fried mushrooms! It looks like they batter the whole stick now and threw it all into the fryer. I asked if they could do a stick with half mushroom and half artichoke so Laura could share with me but the girl said no. We sure didn’t want the $15 combo and Laura doesn’t like mushrooms.
The mushrooms were good… but not as good as it has been in the past. They seemed like they should have been fried a little longer or at another temperature since the outside wasn’t as crispy as I remember it. The mushrooms were still very juicy and flavorful and I still love the ranch dipping sauce it comes with it.
We looked at pretty flowers while I ate my almost-too-hot-to-eat mushrooms.
This rose was my favorite – it was called “Ketchup and Mustard” since it’s yellow in the middle and red on the tips! So pretty.
We ended the night by getting dessert.
[cinnamon roll sundae / $8-ish range (yeah, I forgot the price)]
Since we couldn’t find that darn pretzel, we opted to go for the Cinnamon Roll Sundae! This isn’t a new item, but it’s new to me since I had never heard nor seen it before. They use one of the cinnamon rolls and they put ice cream in the middle and top it with whipped cream, walnuts and a cherry. They kind of hide the ice cream under all of the whipped cream so you can’t really see it. It’s not a ton of ice cream, either. Because they add the ice cream, the traditional cream cheese frosting is not added to the roll. It was nice and gooey and had plenty of cinnamon flavor but I think I’d rather have it with the cream cheese frosting! Laura liked it with the ice cream, she felt it cut down on the sweetness/richness overall.
Big Bite Bacon Fest
Last year was the inaugural Big Bite Bacon Fest which I had the pleasure to attend so I was pretty excited to be invited back for the second year of the event taking place again at the San Diego County Fair on July 5th, 2014. I think Jake and I will employ the tactics we learned this year from Lynn and bring some tupperware with us for the “leftover” samples! I think that’ll be a much, much better plan so I don’t have to feel like a waddling penguin afterwards…
A few photos from last year to whet your appetite:
[chicken fried bacon]
[bacon egg potato tot]
I’ve got a pair of tickets to giveaway again to one lucky winner for this year’s Big Bite Bacon Fest. The winner + a guest will be able to get an unlimited amount of bacony food samples plus 10 (3 oz) beer samples to wash down all of the bacon goodness.
Want to win? Here’s how you can enter!
First of all tell me: what’s your favorite bacon-related food to eat? Enter it in the PromoSimple box below! There are additional ways to enter once you fill in your information. Please note: honesty counts here! Any entries to be found invalid (like, you didn’t REALLY follow me on Facebook) will disqualify ALL of your entries. Just a head’s up.
This contest is open to residents of the United States who can find their way to Del Mar at the Will Call booth for their ticket pickup. Big Bite Bacon Fest tickets include fair admission. Parking is not including. Contest runs from now until July 1st at midnight. Winner will be contacted via email. If no response within 48 hours a new winner will be selected. Good luck!